Painters & Photographers presents painterly themes and techniques in recent abstract photography. On view in PC–G’s Reilly Gallery, this group exhibition consists of illusionistic compositions— rendered somewhere between meticulous staging techniques, analog processes and digital alterations—manipulate perceptions of space and reality to create photographs that appear as abstract paintings.
Like much of contemporary abstract painting, the formal explorations of artists in Painters & Photographers focus on color, shape and pattern. Architect and artist Erin O’Keefe’s photographs show three-dimensional, light-filled still-lifes of colorfully painted elements that simultaneously evoke the angular abstraction of Laszlo Maholy Nagy and the shadow-distorting views of film noir. Liz Nielsen’s compositions happen directly on the photo enlarger—she moves papers, filters and fibers around to compose complexly layered photograms of what looks to be something between geometric abstraction and simply painted landscapes. Similarly, Jessica Labatte sets up elaborate arrangements of colored paper, but in the process of photographing she makes visible what is barely there between the lens and the subject, such as tiny debris and dust particles that give the illusion of painted brush strokes. Ronnie Wright’s printed works on paper start out appropriating images of historic books, most telling of Black American experience. Through digital distribution and printing methods the image files are eventually corrupted, creating an apt metaphor for the marginalized histories of art and culture with expressionistic explosions of color across the frame.
Finally, in a mini-solo show installed in the midst of the group exhibition, Anne Vieux uses digitally manipulated images of holographic and translucent paper under light layers of airbrushed acrylic paint to craft her largest, most illusionistic installation to date: a printed carpet, custom-designed bench wrapped in printed fabric and floor-to-ceiling photomural. Like a kind of self-contained viewing station, Vieux stages each component to envelope the viewer into a luminescent painting of tonal hues.
Painters & Photographers is organized by Jamilee Lacy, PC–G Director and Curator. Exhibition support is generously provided by the Art & Art History Department at Providence College.